How to keep up your driving skills during lockdown – Part 1
Lockdown is a tough time for all of us and to date over the last 9 months official driving lessons with an approved driving instructor have only been possible for around 4 months of them. The lockdown continues with no immediate end in sight. In the first part of this blog we will discuss what you can do to keep up your driving skills during this difficult time, focusing on the theory of driving.
Provisional Driving License
First off please apply for your provisional driving licence as early as you can as due to covid-19 there are delays in getting this. It’s not expensive and can be applied for through the gov.uk website.
If you are a true beginner and haven’t driven at all or have driven less than 10 hours to this point we do not advise being taught by a parent. For a minority of students this kind of learning works well but for the vast majority this may be counter productive. You don’t want to pick up bad habits and expectations in the driving test are very different today compared to when your parents may have passed. Also learning to drive may be a stressful time for both of you so you don’t want any family tension. Above all however learning from scratch with a parent is potentially dangerous as they do not have dual controls to keep you, and everyone around you, safe.
Is it really worth this high risk? However even though we are advising that you don’t drive a car at this time, this time should not be wasted. One of the most important parts of your learning, especially in the early stages, is to be fluent in the theory of driving. The theory test comprises of two parts, the theory and a hazard perception test. Both of these can be practiced over and over again so that you are fluent when you do indeed start to learn to drive with your instructor.
The theory test is not just for passing, although this is of course an important step to getting your full licence; it is a skill you need to remember for life. There’s no point learning how to treat pedestrian crossings safely for the test for example if you forget how to do this when driving for real. We are all conditioned at school to learn to pass tests then to move on to the next thing. The theory of driving is a skill for life.
Make sure you have a copy of the Highway Code, with road signs. All you need to pass your theory test will be found here. You can get quizzed by your parents whilst at home. When you are out and about (on an essential journey) take notice of all the road signs. You need to understand these signs immediately whilst driving so question what they all mean. A sound knowledge here will give you confidence that you are safe whilst driving. You will not pass your theory test if you do not have a sound knowledge of the Highway Code so start practicing now. The theory pass rate is at only 48% and this is mainly because students think they can wing it with the multiple choice without any study. This just isn’t the case.
With the massive backlog of driving tests at present due to the pandemic you don’t want to extend this by having to resit your theory test two or three times. You pass with at least 43 out of the 50 questions! If in doubt you could call or text or zoom your chosen driving instructor and I am sure they will be willing to help you if you are finding the study difficult. They know what you can expect during the test so do not be afraid to ask.
The second part of the theory test is the hazard perception and this, along with driving practice itself, will be discussed in the second part of this blog…. to be continued…..